Croatian Civic Groups Condemn Choice of War Criminal to Head Election List

Posted October 25th, 2011 at 4:05 pm (UTC-5)
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Croatian civic and rights activists have condemned a right-wing opposition party for naming a convicted war criminal to head its list for December general elections.

The center for monitoring war crimes trials, Documenta, and the Citizens' Committee for Human Rights issued a statement Tuesday saying that the choice of Branimir Glavas is without precedent in Europe. They say the decision jeopardizes basic values of Croatia as a democratic country with the rule of law.

The statement also was signed by a prominent Croatian rights activist .

The HDSSB party, based in the eastern Slavonia region, decided Sunday to name Glavas as its candidate. He is currently serving time in Bosnian-Herzegovina for war crimes committed in the eastern Croatian town of Osijek during the Balkan conflict of the 1990s.

Glavas, who is an ethnic Croat, was convicted of war crimes against Serb civilians. He is a former Croatian lawmaker who is considered a hero in Slavonia.

Croatia's government has announced general elections for December. The exact date has yet to be confirmed.

Glavas was found guilty of ordering the 1991 abduction, torture and murder of at least 10 Serbs in the eastern town of Osijek. He fled to neigboring Bosnia, which refused to extradite him to Croatia as he is a citizen of both countries.

Proper handling of war crimes cases involving Croatia's own nationals was among key criteria for its bid to join the European Union. Croatia is set to become the 27-nation bloc's newest member in 2013.